NEW ORLEANS — After a 15-month hiatus, Preservation Hall is opening its doors again. It marks a new beginning and a fresh start during an unpredictable time. Eyewitness News spoke with Joe Lastie, a drummer, who says the band is ready for a comeback.
For years, this historic stage in the Quarter has been part of the sound of New Orleans. But then, COVID-19 hit.
"I used to always say that was the night when the lights went out for music and Preservation Hall," said Joe Lastie. "It was sad because I knew deep down the music was going to be on hold for a while."
It's been eerily quiet since. Windows have been shut, doors bolted, and instruments, which filled the air with heart and soul, were silenced.
"It was sad," Lastie said. "This is our life, and we play for the tourists and our fans."
Lastie has kept busy, playing at home and virtually to try and keep the beat going.
"I always say it's a spiritual thing for me, playing the music," he said. "Because when I play if you don't feel my playing, you're not listening."
However, now after 15 months of playing each day by ear, the stage will once again be lit.
"Oh yeah, we back!" he said with a chuckle. "We coming back better than we were before the pandemic."
The hall may be empty right now, but you can still sense the excitement. And when the doors open this Thursday on the 60th anniversary, the band will be here in front of a crowd ready to put on a show.
"What am I looking forward to the most? Playing with my fellow musicians and entertaining because they suffered just like we did," Lastie said.
And with 48 hours until show time, Lastie says it'll be a performance like none other, one that will surely strike a chord with everyone there.
Doors will open for live shows, Thursday, June 10th, 2021. Due to current COVID-19 protocols, the venue will offer limited capacity for all ages and performances will occur Thursday-Sunday nights at 5pm, 6:15pm and 7:30pm. All ticketing transactions will be via credit card as cash will not be accepted at the door. Reservations are strongly encouraged at PreservationHall.com.
Due to the intimate nature of Preservation Hall, attendees must wear masks and temperature checks will be given as well. Masks will be provided for patrons who arrive to the hall without one of their own. Horn players will also utilize bell covers to ensure full safety. Ticket reservations are currently available at preservationhall.com. Guests are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to show times to allow time for show egress.